UPDATE #2
Getting by in Osaka

It's hard to believe how fast this summer is flying by.   I've been having a great time in Osaka, Japan.   Since my last update, I've recovered from sickness, and am well along my way to seamlessly integrating into the Japanese society.   Ha, Ha, of course I am joking about the seamless part.   There are many wide gaping holes.   Such is the life of a foreigner.   In Japan, there are three types of people whom society expects irrational behavior:   the extreme elderly, the mentally unstable, and ... Americans.


A recent find at the local dump brings much pleasure to Greg's apartment.


Life in Japan has been good.   Study for school has been a little slow due to difficulties in obtaining the appropriate materials, but this has given me a good break.   It has also given me a chance to prepare for the arrival of three more summer visitors - Jeff, Graydon, and Chris.   The fellas arrived in Japan on June 20th.   Coincidentally, this happened to be the same time Greg had a conference in Tokyo.   So, I was left with the task of "orienting" the new arrivals to Osaka.   I'm just glad we made it back from the airport.

A trip to Kansai Airport involves over an hour and half of trains and buses, and that's only if you manage to end up on the right ones.   Fortunately, by this point, I had mastered Japanese public transportation.   To arrive at any destination in Japan, simply find the nearest ticket dispenser.   Verify that, in fact, the tickets dispensed are for a bus/train ride and not a bowl of ramen.   Next, purchase the appropriate ticket.   Now, you must find the line for the correct bus/train to take you to your destination.   Observe the signs in the station and note that the only Japanese characters that you recognize are the ones that say "Exit."   This is not the appropriate line.   Finally, ask the friendly station assistant for help.   When he realizes your Japanese competency is on par with a two year old, he will go out of his way to help you claim your bowl of ramen, buy the appropriate ticket, and find the correct bus/train.

Fortunately, my trip to Kansai was without incident, and we were able to spend the next few days exploring Osaka.   One of the first orders of business was to obtain bikes for the new arrivals.   This was accomplished through a trip to the "Recycling Clean Center."   Strangely, this place resembled a dump.   But there were free bikes in plenty.   Other recent activities have included attending a drama competition put on by the English Speaking Society, hiking to the waterfalls at Minoh Park, and a surprise visit by a good friend, Kobu.   Kobu currently lives in Nebraska, but was visiting his homeland with a church group, and happened to be in Osaka for a day or so.

Spending the summer living with good friends has been great.   Five guys crammed into Greg's apartment is a lot of fun.   Much time is spent together as we work to figure out this thing called "Japan."

An unexpected visit from Kobu.



The English Speaking Society has been a great way to make new friends.
Having native speakers at the weekly discussion times is
a benefit to students wishing to learn the language.



Dave and new friend, Masaki, at the J-House.



Off the shelf prepackaged hotdogs.



Japan - the land of the vending machine.



Typical foreigners - No shortage of photo ops in Japan.



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